VAN HORNE, Iowa — The Nevada volleyball team might be the hottest team in Iowa.
Tipton found that out firsthand.
The Class 3A No. 8 Tigers fell in four sets, 25-18, 25-29, 22-25, 25-16 to the 10th-ranked Cubs in a regional final at Benton Community High School. It snaps back-to-back state appearances for Tipton, which finished second last year.
Nevada, meanwhile, enters the state tournament on an 18-1 run since Sept. 26.
"We've been overlooked, underrated all season," Nevada head coach Jonny Sneiderman said. "This year, a big theme has been holding the rope and sitting in the grind and letting the rope burn with your teammates, and we really showed that tonight."
Though it was early, the match turned quickly in the first set. Tipton (32-7) opened the match with a bang, taking an 8-1 lead thanks to a strong front line that stymied the Nevada (33-9) attack.
Following a Cubs timeout, Nevada responded with an 11-3 run to take a 12-11 lead in the set. Tipton regained a brief 13-12 lead but struggled down the stretch with errors, essentially giving the Cubs seven points as Nevada won 25-18.
"That was totally us. That's what we've seen all year, here and there, those ruts we kind of get into," Tipton head coach Amy Calonder said. "We made a couple changes there, just to get some momentum there, but that's really not any different than what we've done at times this year."
Tipton's offensive woes continued into the second set as Nevada opened up an 8-0 lead, five points coming on Tiger miscues. Tipton never threatened, falling 25-9, just the fourth time all season the Tigers failed to score in double digits in a set.
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"I think some of our newer people that have played all season did have a little bit of those nerves in there," Calonder said. "We just made too many errors and they're a good team. They wanted it."
Tipton responded in a back and forth third set. Tipton jumped out to several five-point leads in the frame but Nevada always responded, cutting the lead to 23-21 before Kamryn Chapman recorded two of her team-high 10 kills in the final three points to give the Tigers the win.
Errors hurt the Tigers once again in the final set as Nevada went on a 9-1 run to turn a 14-12 lead into a commanding 23-13 advantage the Cubs were able to finish out.
Kacie Rewerts led the Cubs with 16 kills and Morgan Tupper had 28 assists.
"I think our confidence lacked a little bit and that caused the errors," senior Sommer Daniel said. "I'd say beforehand we were ready but it took us by surprise how skilled they were, how in system they were."
It's a disappointing end for the Tigers, who were top-ranked for much of the season, but the future still looks bright. Tipton loses just five seniors from this team, but that includes libero Karlee Kamberling, who had 18 digs, as well as fellow starters Chapman, Bailey Schmidt, and Daniel.
"There's a lot of girls in there that were able to play with these girls," Calonder said. "They'll be ready."
Following the match, Tipton supporters made it a point to find Daniel and thank her for what she has contributed to the Tiger community. The Utah recruit is believed to be the first player in state history to record over 1,000 career kills, assists and digs and finished the night with 24 assists, 12 digs, nine kills and an ace.
"It means a lot, I'm getting emotional just talking about it," Daniel said. "This is one of the most supportive teams I've ever been on. ... There's no way I could have got (the stats) or any win without this team."